A mother in Northville, Michigan has filed a formal complaint with her daugher’s school district, claiming that passages in Anne Frank’s diary are too graphic for a seventh grade class.
Parent Gail Horalek told the Northville Patch that the school should have asked for the parents’ permission before assigning the book, or at least sent a written warning, as is done for other “sensitive material.”
“If they watch any kind of movie with a swear word in it, I have to sign a permission slip,” she said.
The passage that Horek comes from the unedited, “definitive” version of the diary, in which the teenager writes about her own genitalia:
Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs >there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris.
Horalek said that she was initially excited that her daughter was reading the iconic firsthand account of life in hiding from the Nazis in World War II, until the Meads Middle School student told her that it made her “uncomfortable.”
According to Gawker, Horalek is demanding that the school go back to the older, edited version of the book, which removes such uncomfortable passages.
Northville Schools’ Assistant Superintendent Robert Behnke responded to the complaint, suggesting that Horalek’s concerns would be subject to review.
Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg , she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.
Is Anne Frank's Diary Too Graphic for School?